Sunday 14 August 2011

Abbott endangering investment: Shorten

Bill Shorten
Bill Shorten has described Tony Abbott's comments on mining as 'a reckless, risky thought bubble'. Source: Herald Sun

THE federal government has accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of endangering Australia's foreign investment framework by backing the right of farmers to deny miners access to their land.

"If you're going to upend the whole way of doing business in Australia here in the mining sector I wouldn't do it with some reckless, risky thought bubble," Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten told ABC Television today.

Mr Shorten was responding to comments Mr Abbott made on Friday but was reluctant to repeat when quizzed by reporters in Perth on Saturday.

Mr Abbott agreed farmers had "a right to say no" if they did not want miners to come onto their land to explore for energy and mineral deposits.

"I'm surprised that he has put such a, to be blunt, sovereign risk in investment in Australia on the table," Mr Shorten said.

But the opposition leader's stance was backed by another senior coalition figure at the weekend.

He also pledged to ban open cut coal mining in prime agricultural land in the Darling Downs, west of Brisbane, and the central Queensland's grain growing region, known as the Golden Triangle.


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